Conference: ‘Reason and Religion in Iran 1925-2025’

27 September 2024

Location: Drift 21, room 0.05 (Sweelinckzaal), Utrecht University

On September 27, we are organising the conference ‘Reason and Religion in Iran 1925-2025’ in cooperation with the University of Glasgow and the University of Warsaw. The seminar seeks to explore the complex relationship between reason and religion in Iran over the past century. While this relationship is often oversimplified as a clash between rational modernity and secularism versus reactionary, irrational religious thought, it is far more nuanced than the popular image suggests. By critically examining the various forms and manifestations of the interplay and juxtaposition of these two concepts, we aim not only to trace their historical trajectories, but also to discern their profound significance within the Iranian intellectual tradition. We also seek to identify key moments and socio-political developments that have been shaped by reflections on the interaction between reason and religion.

This exploration includes both the traditional understanding of their relationship – for example, the positioning of ‘rational sciences’ (ʿulūm-i ʿaqlīya) vis-à-vis ‘transmitted sciences’ (ʿulūm-i naqlīya) – and their evolving dynamics in the new discourses that have emerged as a result of the political and intellectual transformations of the last two centuries. By closely examining key figures, historical junctures, intellectual movements, and shifts in the socio-political landscape, the seminar aims to unravel the tensions, dialogues, and synergies that define the intricate interplay between reason and religion in Iran.

The programme of this conference will follow shortly.

Register for conference Reason and Religion